Category Archives: Pre-Conception

Pre-Conception: Conclusion

Sadly, our January pre-conception series is coming to a close, but we hope you have been following along each day. We have covered topics from preparing for conception to tracking your ovulation and everything we could think of in between.

A summary of January’s posts are below:

We hope that this has been helpful, and while the door to this series has closed, February gives us the opportunity to begin a whole new series, one that we have had so much fun writing, so make sure you check back in tomorrow.

All our love,

The Lotus Blossom Midwives

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Pre-Conception: Your Story

We’d like to hear your stories for how you prepared for a baby, what you think about timing and birth spacing, and what you wish you would’ve known before you birthed your little bundle.

Did you plan and take your vitamins and do everything by the book, or were you surprised when you saw that second line appear on the test?

Amanda could say that her first two were planned, and the following two were surprises, wanted surprises, but surprises all the same. Ally could say that none of hers were planned, the first was a huge surprise, and after that she just resigned herself to getting pregnant each year.

Plenty of room for comments below if you’d like to share a little, or a lot, of your story!! We want to hear all that you have to say.

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Pre-Conception: Mental Prep

So, you’ve read through all the posts this month and you’re ready to have a baby. But we still have a couple days, so we’d like to cover just a couple more topics with you. Today, we would like to focus on the mindset of having a new baby, not to scare you, but to get real with you, so you know what to expect.

When Amanda and I got pregnant for the first time, we both thought we’d know exactly what to do. Amanda had watched her younger nieces and spent time as a nanny for a large family. Taking care of children was second nature to her. I felt much the same way, that I had helped to raise my baby brother and watched him several times, changed diapers, bottle-fed him, even gotten up at night with him. I knew that I would be just fine. And now, we sit back and laugh at our naivete.

There’s definitely something different about having your very own baby. You are responsible for every choice made for this little one that you created. This begins before conception even occurs, and if my grandparents are correct, it never, ever ends. Taking care of someone else’s child, you don’t have to make all the medical decisions, get to know every cry and babble to interpret it, get up all night, every night, until you’re utterly sleep deprived and in full-on “mombie” mode. Not truly, even as a live-in nanny.

So we highly suggest doing as much metal preparation as you can. Talk to other mothers, your sisters and other female family members, to find out what it was like for them. Read some quality parenting books. Not sure which ones to look for, reach out to us. We’d be glad to offer some suggestions about which ones really helped us, and which ones we had to weed out the rubbish. Get plenty of rest and take care of yourself, because those first few weeks of having a baby, you will become an afterthought to yourself and baby’s needs will rank much higher than your own.

We’d like to share with you an experience from each of us, just to let you know, you are not alone. You will make mistakes, you will have needs, you will have times that you wonder how you’ll make it through, and that’s all normal. If we could go back and have a conversation with ourselves, it would sound very much like this. Everything is a phase, and every phase eventually comes to an end. There are even apps that help explain these phases and keep you sane when your baby would like to do otherwise. You also have us. If you are reading this, we are here for you at any stage of pre-conception, pregnancy, and postpartum, to answer your questions and lend an ear.

Amanda:

“I hit a point at somewhere around 4 weeks postpartum that I felt hopeless and lost at what to do. My baby, Ella, wouldn’t stop crying despite all my attempts to walk with her, feed her, burp her, change her, everything the books said to do. I was getting frustrated beyond belief and was ready to take her back to the hospital. It wasn’t supposed to be this hard. I reached out to my mom, who gave me permission to lay her safely in her bed and take a break, walk outside onto the balcony, and give a both a couple minutes to cool off. I was putting too much pressure on myself as a mother, and I needed that voice of intervention to give me the okay. I wasn’t gone long, and my baby was safe, and when I returned to her, I was refreshed and ready to pour my love into my baby again. It was an important lesson and one that I needed to hear. Thanks, Mom!”

Ally:

My story starts with a midnight feeding and walking from baby’s room to my room and back again. This was about 2 weeks postpartum and I was sleep-deprived, stumbling, and ended up walking my beautiful newborn’s head into a doorframe. He was fine; it didn’t even leave a dent, but I was a wreck. Beat myself up for a day thinking about it, sure that I was the worst mother to ever walk the face of the planet, until I reached out to my sister. It was painful, confessing that I had done such a horrible thing, and you know what she did? She laughed. Her words were, “Is that all? That wasn’t a failure, us veteran moms call that initiation. Pretty sure we’ve all done it.” And in that moment, I knew it would all be okay, that we all make mistakes, and that I would be able to conquer this new mother thing. She gave me the forgiveness and the confidence I needed to carry on.

Reach out, ladies, don’t hold in your stories, or your feelings of hopelessness or failure. We are here for you!

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Pre-Conception: A Road Less Traveled

Conception doesn’t always occur under conventional methods, in fact, if often occurs through other planned methodologies. By conventional, we mean, good old-fashioned sex, with the sperm and the egg behaving the way they are supposed to. As society has changed, so have the ways of conception. There are so many more available ways for a woman to conceive now, and while everyone has an opinion on the increase of science and technology, you have to admit that at least some of these strides have made pregnancy available to women who otherwise would have had no other option.

Some women need extra assistance getting pregnant with their current male partner, some are single women, some are women in relationships with other women, and some women choose to just do things a different way for a multitude of reasons. No matter how you conceive a baby, whether it is being grown in your womb or in the uterus of another woman, it’s an amazing miracle of life.

So, if your conception journey contains a stream of initials (IUI, ICI, IVF, etc…), or fertility medications, or surrogacy, or a sperm donor, or the adoption of a frozen embryo, we’ve got your back!! We celebrate you and your journey, however you have chosen to bring a life into this world. Choosing an unconventional path, or having it choose you, is not yet mainstream and sometimes may be a difficult trek. Reach out to us if you’d like, and we would be glad to talk with you, or better yet, listen to you. If we can’t answer your questions, we know some great resources who can.

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Pre-Conception: No, Thanks!

We are midwives and because of that, we deal with pregnant families and newborn babies on a daily basis. Then, we come home to our own large families and love on our own babies. We are surrounded by babies, birth, and growing families all the time, but we’d like to take a minute and give a shout out to all of our sisters who have decided to never have a baby. We love you and admire you for making that choice.

Somehow, society has convinced us that the purpose and success of a woman is measured by birthing a child. This simply is NOT true. A woman who has never had a child is often questioned about her biological clock, if she is infertile, or if she is just selfish. A woman who knows herself well enough to know that she does not have the time, the energy, or the desire to have a baby in her life is making a choice, a well-informed choice, and one that should be celebrated along with her, not shamed.

Having a baby is not the epitome of womanhood, although we’ll agree for those who want children, it can be very fulfilling, but there are many things that are fulfilling to a woman, such as a rewarding relationship, a career, a solid family connection, the best of friends, and travel, to name a few. Women are goal-oriented; we often just have different goals. So if your goal is to have ten children and stay home and raise them, that’s great. If your goal is to never get pregnant and focus on other dreams and aspirations, that’s great, too!

We needed to get that out there, as we are coming to a close on our series on pre-conception, and we wanted to make sure you all knew, we do love babies, but even more so, we love women. All women, every woman, as an individual. If you choose to never have a baby, we support you and you absolutely can still have a midwife for your reproductive health, if you choose to. Just give us a call.

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Pre-Conception: Homemade Pregnancy Tests

Did you know there are several ways listed across the internet to make your own pregnancy test at home? We’ve done our research, as you should too, and we’ve come up with a list of the most common homemade pregnancy tests. While we agree that making your own laundry detergent is amazing, homemade soaps are luxurious, and don’t even get us started on those crafted herbal baths, we think that manufacturing pregnancy tests is best left to the professionals. Most homemade tests are difficult at best to interpret for results, but if you have the ingredients and no other way to test, give it a go. We’d love to hear how it works out for you.

The Dandelion Test

To prepare for the dandelion test, you will need to gather a handful of fresh dandelion leaves. Strip them from the stem and bring them inside. Try to do this early in the morning, or late in the evening, when the leaves have no been in direct sunlight for a few hours. Continue to protect the leaves from sunlight as much as possible. Place the leaves into a container and saturate them with a cup of your urine. Wait 10 minutes and then check the leaves for reddish blisters. If they have not appeared, wait another 10 minutes and check again. The reddish blisters indicate a possible pregnancy. There is no definite length of time to continue to check the leaves looking for red spots. Our guess is, until you get tired of having a container of urine and dandelion greens on your kitchen counter.

The Bleach Test

Another somewhat vague test, this one could actually be quite dangerous to you and your unborn child. This method recommends mixing bleach and your urine together in a container and waiting to see if there is a reaction, possibly foaming or fizzing. There is not a recipe for exact quantities, although some sites recommend half and half of the liquid components. If you have ever made the mistake of cleaning the bathroom with bleach and ammonia at the same time, you know that the chemical reaction is extremely toxic and the fumes are noxious. You will get a similar amount of fumes with this test. If you choose to perform it, please, please, please, do it outside where it is well-ventilated and do not hold your face over the container trying to watch for a little fizz.

The Sugar Test

The sugar test is not quite as sweet as the name suggests. To perform this test, you will want to put several spoonfuls of common granulated sugar into a container and first thing in the morning, urinate directly into the sugar. The warmth of the urine should dissolve the sugar, much like your morning coffee. If the sugar clumps instead of dissolving (without stirring, mind you), there is the possibility of a pregnancy. Hmmm… not sure the validity of this test, but we do know that you should keep the sugar away from your vaginal area because sugar promotes yeast and yeast infections are miserable, pregnant or not. Also, be sure to dispose of your concoction before anyone mistakes it for a cup of sweetened apple juice.

The Toothpaste Test

This one may be one of the most confusing. The common directions found across the net are to purchase a tube of toothpaste, the plain white paste kind, and to mix it in a container with some of your morning urine. Again, no good definition for quantities used. If there is a positive pregnancy, the toothpaste may turn blue, or it may foam up, or it may foam up as a reaction to the urine itself. It’s unclear how long you should wait for a reaction, or exactly what reaction you may get. Might we suggest that you save your toothpaste for your teeth.

There are several other homemade pregnancy test recipes that you could find online, but none more accurate than what we have described above, which is to say, not terribly accurate at all. While common household ingredients may be readily available, pregnancy tests can be found at your local dollar store or pharmacy. If you need confidential testing, or finances are an issue, please reach out to us. It’s our goal to get you the testing that you need without you using all the toothpaste in your house.

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Pre-Conception: When Can I Test??

If you have been actively trying to get pregnant, it is SO hard to wait until you can take a test and find out if you are indeed carrying a small human in your uterus. But, we can guarantee that if you take a test too early, it will be negative, no matter what is really going on at a cellular level.

Let’s look at the two most common methods of pregnancy testing, the first is an over-the-counter urine pregnancy test and the other is a blood test performed by your provider. Most women prefer to find out in the privacy of their own home and choose to purchase a urine pregnancy test at the pharmacy counter.

If you choose a urine test, you really should wait until the first day of your missed period to get accurate results. Yes, there are some brands that claim to be so sensitive, they can test as soon as five days before the first day of your period, but they don’t know your body, your ovulation cycle, and your hormone production rates. At five days before a missed period, the tests are only about 60% accurate in negative results. You may be pregnant, but not making enough hCG to make the test turn positive. Two days before a missed period, the test’s accuracy raises above 90% and the day before that missed period, it raises to 97% accuracy. As hard as it is to wait, knowing a few days earlier will not make a difference to your baby if you are already eating, drinking, and taking supplements to prepare for pregnancy. Save your hard-earned money and take your test the day before or of the first day you expect your period.

If you choose a blood test, you can begin the testing around 8-9 days after you believe you conceived. This is a little earlier than a urine test, but not significantly so. Most providers would then prefer for you to return within a few days and test again, so they can see that your hCG levels are rising, suggesting a healthy pregnancy. Depending on when you ovulate, this could be as soon as day 22 of your cycle, six days before you expect your period to begin. Your provider should be able to help you identify an estimate of your cycle if you have not been charting, and help you determine the best time to perform the test.

If you think you might be pregnant, and would like to take about the difference in testing, or schedule a blood test, give us a call. We are patiently waiting right along with you for those two pink lines.

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Pre-Conception: Sex Prediction

So you want to try for a child of a specific sex? We’ve got loads of old wives’ tales to share with you to attempt for one or the other, but when it comes down to it, your baby’s sex will be determined by the sperm that reaches the egg and penetrates it first, plain and simple. That being said, these are all fun to try, and no one said practice wouldn’t make perfect.

If you want a BOY:

  • Have sex as close to ovulation as possible. Sperm that carry the “Y” chromosome are thought to be faster swimmers, but they don’t live as long as those that carry the “X.” So give them the best chance by cutting it as close as you can to ovulation.
  • Women should stay in a horizontal position, or with hips elevated, for at least 30 minutes after intercourse to allow the faster swimmers the chance to get a great head start.
  • Focus on his pleasure instead of hers. If he climaxes before you do, supposedly you have a greater chance of having a boy. Maybe he’ll enjoy the chance to not be the sensitive lover for once.
  • Have sex on the odd days of the month.
  • Have sex at night.
  • Three months prior to conception, when the sperm are just beginning to develop, make sure that dad gets lots of love, self-care, and is pretty chill. The less stress hormone, the less “X” chromosomes a man will make, giving you a better chance of having a boy

If you want a GIRL:

  • Have sex three to four days before ovulation and then remain abstinent until after ovulation. Sperm that carry the “X” chromosome are thought to live longer, giving them time to hang out in the fallopian tubes, just waiting on an egg. They don’t swim as fast as those that carry the “Y,” but it won’t matter when they’re already next to the finish line when the race starts.
  • Women should be on top, or have intercourse in a standing position, to prevent the fast “Y” swimmers from gaining the advantage. Apparently gravity slows them down and evens the playing field for the slower, stronger “X” sperm.
  • Focus on her pleasure instead of his. If you climax before he does, supposedly you have a greater chance of having a girl. Maybe this is why there are more males in the global population than females.
  • Have sex on the even days of the month.
  • Have sex between sunrise and sunset.
  • Three months prior to conception, when the sperm are just beginning to develop, if Dad is feeling stressed, overworked, and underappreciated, you are more likely to have a girl. The more stress hormone, the more “X” chromosomes a man will make, giving you a better chance of having a girl. Now, I’m not saying stress him out on purpose, but if he’s a pretty high-strung guy, you may be conceiving a baby girl.

All these tips may be fun to read, and even to try, but when it comes down to it, we can give you your odds of having your preferred gender.  It’s still pretty much a 50/50 shot every time.  Both Amanda and Ally have children of both sexes and we find that we love them all, and no matter the sex, they are amazing, unique individuals with personalities and talents all their own.  Don’t hold on too tightly to your preference, you might be surprised.  

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Pre-Conception: Too Much of a Good Thing

Most couples trying to conceive think that the more sexual encounters they have, the better chance of conception occurring. Seems accurate enough, right? It couldn’t be further from the truth. Having daily sex (or more than once a day for you overachievers) actually lowers the amount of semen and sperm available to reach the egg.

Providers recommend waiting at least one day, if not two, in between sexual encounters in order for men to store up more sperm and seminal fluid. So how does this play into all the tracking and charting that we’ve been telling you about? Once you know your cycle, if it’s regular anyway, you will be able to choose your days wisely. If you know you have your LH surge on day 13, and you ovulate on day 14, we would recommend abstaining from sex from day 1 until day 10 and then having intercourse on days 10, 12, 14, and 16. Remember that with healthy cervical mucus, sperm can live in the female reproductive tract for up to 72 hours, just hanging out, waiting on an egg. This whole theory may seem counter-intuitive, but coming from two midwives with eleven children between them, we can assure you it works. Then, the rest of the month, do whatever you feel like.

Let’s take a minute and just talk about healthy sperm and seminal fluid. We would never assume that an infertility issue is ever with the woman, it’s honestly about 50/50. So, while you are doing all this preparing for conception, your partner needs to be doing some too. Major lifestyle choices that negatively affect sperm count and health include poor diet/obesity, alcohol, smoking and street drugs, lack of exercise, and excessive heat to the genital area. So healthy choices and some comfortable boxers are in order for him. Maybe break that to him before you tell him that your daily routine has just moved to an every other day occurrence.

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Pre-Conception: Daddy Determination

Whether your baby is born with a penis or a vagina depends solely upon dear old dad. Did you hear that ladies? Your baby’s sex is determined by the chromosome that is passed on from the sperm, not from the egg. So the old adage of a man wanting a woman who will give him only sons is utter nonsense since he is the determining factor in the sex of the child. Just remind him when your son is peeing up the wall, or your daughter is in tears due to teenage heartbreak, he’s the one that chose the gender.

Sex is determined by a pair of chromosomes. The mother of the child always donates an “X” chromosome to the pair. The father contributes either another “X” chromosome or a “Y” chromosome. If the father adds another “X,” the resulting child will have female genitalia when born. A “Y” chromosome results in male genitalia.

These sex chromosomes contribute more than just genitalia, however. They also determine hormone production and the full reproductive tract development. We will cover that more in our series on second trimester happenings, as sex chromosomes begin their external differentiation during that time.

Are there ways to determine which chromosome a man will pass on? Well, yes and no. There are several old wives tales on how to produce a baby of a certain sex, but ultimately sex is determined by the chromosome passed on, whatever it may be, and you have very little control over that. But the old wives tales are fun to apply so tune in to the blog tomorrow for that post.

There are currently many scientific trials that are splicing genes or separating sperm to control that only the sperm with the desired chromosome have the chance to penetrate the egg. These procedures are currently exorbitantly expensive and not available in the United States. So, in our current time, I guess you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. How many of you would want to be able to decide that? Leave your comments below!!

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